Zinc etching, Baboni-Malesci LXVI. The print has the characteristics of the impressions pulled by Fattori himself, or under his direct guidance, with his small hand press. These impressions were printed on various types of paper, often recovered by chance, easily recognizable by the narrow margins and sometimes used to wrap the plates and recognize them (as it is the case for the present impression). Several examples are in the Franconi collection. See: Andrea Baboni, Le incisioni di Giovanni Fattori nella collezione Franconi, Florence, 1987; nos. 4, 26, 28, 64, 74, 78 and 85. Baboni generally dated these impressions c. 1900.
A very good impression, just with a few badly inked areas, printed in black ink on light brown, rough, laid paper. Paper lightly and evenly discoloured in correspondence of the printed area. On the verso there are a few handwritten notes in blue chalk, as often happens with this kind of impressions. To the platemark 192 x 100 mm, the entire sheet measuring 220 x 139 mm. This etching has been certainly created before 1888, because an impression was in the group of 21 etchings by Fattori purchased in September 1888 by the Italian State, now in the GNAM, Rome.
A very similar impression of another etching by Fattori, on similar paper and with similar traces of folds due to the wrapping of the plate, is in the collection of the British Museum: 2001,0930.18.
Giovanni Fattori, possibly the most important painter of the nineteenth century in Italy, received his first instruction in drawing from a lesser painter of his native town. In 1846 Fattori moved to Florence to attend the Academy. During the 1850s Fattori joined the innovative artists, called Macchiaioli, who met at the Caffè Michelangelo in Florence and were champions of a new technique and style to contrast the conventional academic language. During those years, he still produced works that could be attributed to the historical-romantic school but his interest in studying from life also extended to landscape painting and the military life of the day became the subject of his first experiments in painting using the macchia technique. In 1867, after the death of his first wife, Fattori frequently stayed in the Maremma region which became the ideal backdrop for his works. Fattori began etching in the early 1880s, when he was nearly sixty; quite soon he was able to appreciate the difference of expression he could achieve using this new medium. A real peintre-graveur, he continued with etching his artistic research on light and essential shapes in reality.